Silent Hill 2 is a disturbing, psycho-sexual drama that will linger in your dreams and taint your soul.
James Sunderland is a troubled man. His beloved wife, Mary died a few years ago of a terminal illness Before she died, he promised her he would take her to "their special place," a hotel in the town of Silent Hill where they spent their honeymoon, but she passed before he was able to do so, under mysterious circumstances. Soon, he gets a letter from Mary. It says she is waiting for him in Silent Hill. Despite the eeriness of such a letter, despite the fact she is dead, he leaves and heads for the town to meet her. The game quickly descends into a horrific psychological drama, as James slowly remembers the truth behind her death, and is forced to face his greatest fears and forced to face punishment from those who he has wronged. The story is satisfying, and while there are multiple endings, some good, some bad, the ending that I consider the "true" ending, resolves the story in a somber and emotional scene involving redemption and spirituality. This is one of the few games to make me cry, and its also one of the few, to truly reach into my soul and make me feel true fear.
The games graphics have aged surprisingly well, shadows still work, the detail is still gruesome, and while it isn't on par with current gen systems, it still looks good and artistically driven. The sound is even better, while the voice acting is sometimes laughably bad, the audio helps enhance the mood and atmosphere, and gets under your skin just as much as everything else will. The monsters sound perfect, the atmospheric sounds have depth, and the best part of all, the soundtrack is beautiful, but at the same time, downright chilling. It is easily the greatest soundtrack ever heard in a Horror Game, if not one of the greatest video game soundtracks of all time. Akira Yamaoka's composition lends so much mood, and while the music is beautiful, it can also raise goosebumps.
As I said before, Silent Hill 2 is not for those who prefer unsubtle horror. If you prefer boos, screams, howls, and jump scares, Silent Hill 2 isn't for you. If you like something subtle, something psychological, something gut wrenching in every definition of the term - Silent Hill 2 is for you. While it does have what you can call "Shock" scares like in other games, that show disturbing scenes of violence, the true horror in Silent Hill 2 lies in the human mind. Even the infamous nurses, that have gone to be bastardized later in the series, are metaphors, the reason for their faceless visage and low cut tops isn't to "appeal" to anyone, its a statement on the way James would harass and objectify the nurses in the hospital, sometimes even in front of his dying wife. They weren't made to look like they do just so we can have zombies, they were meant to get under your skin. If you can think outside the box, if you enjoy a good story, and if you love to feel fear, Silent Hill 2 comes off with high recommendation and is, in my mind, the greatest horror title of all time - and one of the greatest games ever.